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Breaking News: Jedis Hate Leashes!

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IT'S NOT TOO MUCH of a spoiler to note that in the first level of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II, you jack Darth Vader's ride. His fancy-pants TIE fighter is just sitting there, parked on the ever-raining water planet of Kamino (of course it's not locked, of course a feared intergalactic warlord would never even think he needs to lock his spaceship, come on), and you take it—no doubt joyriding around in hyperspace while Vader's stuck back on Kamino getting rained on, looking like a dumbass and shaking his fist at the cloudy sky, letting out his trademark agonized "Nooooooooooooooooo!"

Alas, that's one of the few memorable moments in The Force Unleashed II, the sequel to 2008's Star Wars-skinned God of War rehash. The first Force Unleashed, though—in allowing players to don the robes of Starkiller, a Jedi powerful enough to electrocute rancors and pull down Star Destroyers from orbit—felt fresh and fun in a way its sequel doesn't. Part of the original's charm was in giving older Star Wars fans—those who aren't gonna tune into Cartoon Network for The Clone Wars every week, for example—a slightly darker, slightly meaner take on that galaxy far, far away. In bridging the prequel trilogy and 1977's Star Wars, Force Unleashed also told a pretty decent story, one that was engaging enough to justify overlooking the game's floaty controls, over-reliance on quick-time events, and frustrating chokepoints.

Bewilderingly, those problems are still there in The Force Unleashed II—and alongside a significantly lamer story, even with cameos from the likes of Yoda and Boba Fett. It's not all bad, though: Thanks to its great production design, the game looks damn impressive, and in LucasArts' efforts to out-epic God of War, they do include some pretty ambitious, pretty thrilling sequences amongst all the button mashing. While it's cliché to note that Star Wars geeks are used to settling, this Star Wars geek, at least, had hopes that Unleashed II would be better—a game that continued to invigorate the franchise, or one that, at the very least, didn't repeat the mistakes of its predecessor.

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